The critter caught in a Ballwin condo complex lake last month was described on TV as a ‘young crocodilian.’ Opportunistic gator hunters, chill out. TT-Ballwin.9-16-15Apparently it isn’t big enough to make a pair of shoes or handbag out of, unless you’re thinking of outfitting Barbie, the doll with the anatomically impossible figure. A pest control company hooked the interloper with some icky chicken parts, and will hold onto it until a rescue group can relocate it to warmer climes. The pest control folks were calling it a caiman, but someone at the zoo would only go so far as “baby crocodilian.” Used to be you could get one of these fierce-looking little fellers at a pet store. Problem is, they get bigger and not so cute (not that I would ever call them cute). At any rate, the crocodilian wasn’t talking, because the TV station said there was ‘no word’ on how it got there in the first place. One thing for sure: It didn’t winter here, at least not outside, because it wouldn’t have survived our weather. So don’t worry about a crocodilian infestation.

[central west end]
Ever get a little disoriented in Forest Park, and drive around awhile before you finally reach your destination within, despite the great directional signs and the enthusiastic, if unhelpful, instructions from the passenger/back seats? No need to get all cattywampus in the green jewel of the StL anymore: Now there’s a website and an app for that—forestparkmap.org. Not only does it help get you where you want or need to go, from a wedding reception at the Jewel Box to an Omnimax movie at the Science Center, but it provides details on numerous sites within the park, whether Wildlife Island or Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Garden. The former you can access via paddleboat. The latter is a new and artfully created exterior environment for much of SLAM’s 20th-century and contemporary sculpture, situated within ‘rooms’ defined by some 400 newly planted trees. Its design imagined walls of the museum extended into the environment, as conceived by French landscape architect Michel Desvigne. It is immediately south of the East Building. We know all this not only because of the map, which provides directions, but by homing in closer and clicking one of the ‘live’ buttons that provide details on many, many sites within the park. The map also pinpoints dozens of picnic areas and lets the clicker or clickerette know whether the tables are within covered structures. This finely engineered, Web-based doodad comes to you compliments of Forest Park Forever … which also reminds virtual visitors that it’s ‘New Member September’!

TT-Chest.9-16-15ATaste of St. Louis will mark its second installment out of downtown Sept. 18 through 20, so hitch up the wagon and head west to Chesterfield this weekend. Actually, there’ll probably already be a big ol’ wagon there sometimes during the event, pulled by the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Kids love ’em. Adults think they’re awesome, too. There’ll be food. There’ll be music. There may even be beer. (I know, right?) And folks should be hollering during the chef battles throughout the weekend, which will feature some of the metro’s brightest culinary stars …

• Jessie Gilroy from The Tavern
• Carl Hazel from The Scottish Arms
• Robert Sills from Savannah Grille
• Aaron Baggett from Edgewild
• D. Scott Phillips from Balaban’s
• John Perkins from Juniper
• Chris Tirone from Quincy Street Bistro
• Bob Colosimo from Eleven Eleven Mississippi

(Sure hope they’re careful with their implements, based on the ones we’ve seen in their portraits. You could poke your eye out with those things!) The Taste was downtown for a decade, then moved to Chesterfield’s Central Park last year with nationally famous chefs and musical acts. The sound at the amphitheater is delightful; there’s room for you, your extended family, and even their extended family’s extended families. Plus, I hear that getting in and out, and parking, are no problem compared to, say, Riverport. And it’s free. So is the entertainment. Chris Janson, Missouri native and country star with the No. 3 Billboard hit Buy Me a Boat, will perform at 8:30 p.m. Friday night (Sept. 18). Brooklyn alt-rock quartet Bear Hands will be the headliner on Saturday night. Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys, named one of the greatest all-time DJs by USA Today, also will play Saturday night. No concerts are scheduled on Sunday. But there’ll be a 45-minute Dillard’s fashion show both nights right before the headliner. You’ve been warned.

[saint louis city]
Our town’s Vincent Price was much more than a famous actor in horror movies. He and his wife were gourmets. Their 1965 cookbook, A Treasury of Great Recipes, which had been long out of print, has been brought back to life … well, reprinted … to mark its 50th anniversary. It has been enhanced with a retrospective preface by daughter Victoria Price and an introduction by uber chef Wolfgang Puck. Think you’re in the know about cookbooks? Well, did you realize that Treasury was reportedly the eighth most-sought-after out-of-print book in North America? And, according to Saveur magazine, it’s more than a book—it’s an historic event! Saveur named the 1965 edition to its compilation of the ‘100 Most Important Culinary Events of the 20th Century.’ (Hmm … wonder how many of them Julia Child was involved with?) But this book is not all hoity-toity: It covers everything from Europe’s haute cuisine to the hot dogs at Dodger Stadium. (I’ll take mine from Yankee Stadium, thank you, with Gulden’s mustard.) Price’s career spanned seven decades; some may not have seen him in The Invisible Man from the ’50s, others may have been startled by his evil laugh at the end of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. And if you haven’t seen him in Edward Scissorhands, you need to download and watch it right now. Tim Burton directed the 1991 horror fable, which was released in 1991, two years before Price’s death … oh-so-close to Halloween of 1993 (Oct. 25). Victoria Price is slated to be in town Oct. 9 for a book signing, and Oct. 10 for a Tenacious Eats installment, in which the movie for foodies will be Theatre of Blood, starring her late father. Participants may consider dressing in costume for the event at 5700 Leona St.

[webster groves]
When I noticed that ‘Celebrate the Vote’ was held last month at Llywelyn’s in Webster Groves, it brought me up short. What was I missing? Well, an event from nearly a century ago. The event was to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being ratified. Women got the vote on Aug. 26, 1920. And it was all because a legislator in Tennessee changed his vote, says Rebecca Now, an historian and speaker who has kept the days of suffrage alive and was a prime mover in the Llywelyn’s event. Thirty-five of the necessary 36 states had ratified the amendment, but in the Tennessee statehouse, it didn’t look good for the women. That young man’s vote at first was ‘nay.’ But he had a letter from his mother in his pocket that encouraged him to do the right thing, and voted ‘yea.’ See, listen to your mother.

Based in Wildwood, Peak Resorts has raised more than $50 million to fund future construction projects! I sure was excited, until I saw that the work will be done at the Mount Snow resort in Vermont, not Hidden Valley like I’d misthought. Oh, snap. I was hoping that $50 million would pay for the addition of 1,000 more vertical feet to the mountain here in Missouri. But this sizable chunk of change, from foreign investors, is earmarked for more snow-making capacity to open the slopes earlier at the northeastern ski area. Hidden Valley is one of Peak’s 13 properties, most of which are located in the Northeast and elsewhere out here in the Great Flyover, I mean the Midwest. Nebraska and Iowa are part of the Great Flyover, i.e., states you fly over on your way to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and other ski country destinations.